Remarks in Charleston Following the South Carolina Primary
Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you. Well, three states, three winners -- what a great country. [applause]
I had the pleasure -- and it was a pleasure to congratulate my friend, Newt Gingrich, just a few minutes ago on -- really an amazing victory for him. I mean, he's -- he's had -- he's been up and he's been down and he never stopped fighting. And, to Newt Gingrich, let's give him a big round of applause for staying in there and fighting. Good job, buddy, good job. [applause]
Well, I just want to also thank somebody else, and -- well, actually a group of folks who happen to be standing behind me. I just want to thank, first and foremost, my wife, Karen -- [applause] -- and we have six of seven children here. Our little one, Bella, is here in South Carolina, but not up with us here on stage. I want to thank all them for the great hard work for us. Thank you. [applause]
And I always have to start out by thanking my family, because that's where it all starts for me.
You know, when I -- I've only -- Karen has written two books. I've only written one. By the way, her books sold more than my one book. But I wrote that book in response to a book written by Hillary Clinton. And she wrote a book called "It Takes a Village" and I wrote the rebuttal "It Takes a Family." [applause]
Well, this was a family decision. It was not an easy decision to step forward and step back into the firing line, and this has clearly been a firing line. But it was a family decision to step forward at a time when we, just like everybody else in America, the Tea Party people who rose up and delivered that great victory in 2010, who felt this sense that something was wrong in America.
There was something that was out of whack. There's something that they couldn't sit on the sidelines anymore and just watch America -- the America that they knew and love -- fundamentally change.
And that's why Karen and I and the kids, we sat around our kitchen table, just like, well, we all sit around our kitchen tables and we talked about our future and talk about our family and country and we decided to step forward and run for President of the United States.
And we went to this little town in the hills of the Appalachian mountains, Somerset, Pennsylvania. And I went there for two reasons, because I think what's fundamentally at stake in this country is freedom.
The government taking and robbing every man, woman and child, every institution that seeks to do good in our society, they continue to rob it of their freedom and try to control everything from the top down. So I went -- [applause] -- so our family went to this little town in Somerset, Pennsylvania. It's not where I was from. I didn't grow up in Somerset. Never lived in Somerset. I had a couple of friends in Somerset, but we went to Somerset because of two things that to me represented what was at the core of the threat that this administration was to those fundamental freedoms.
Number one was, as I mentioned before, that's about a few miles down the road from where my grandfather came to this country and worked in those coal mines. That's where my grandfather dug his way to freedom for me and my father and for this generation that now follows me.
And so I wanted to stand on the place where freedom was etched for the Santorum family, and just down the road from a place where an airliner crashed on a September day, five miles away from Somerset in Shanksville, where the first blow for freedom was struck in this war against radical jihadists.
I wanted to stand there on those sites to make a clarion call that this race and this campaign was not going to be about tearing everybody down, it was not going to be about negative ads, it was not going to be about anything other than painting a bold vision for our country, one that believed in the working class values that my grandfather taught to me. The -- [applause] -- workers, workers who believed as, well, Barack Obama actually got it right when he made that comment in San Francisco, unbeknownst that it was being recorded. Yes, my grandfather and I come from that area of Pennsylvania he was referring to that holds on tightly to their guns and their Bibles. [applause]
And those are the people in America who are being left behind. Those are the folks in America whose party -- neither party has a voice for. Oh, President Obama and the Left will tell you, oh, they care. They want to do everything for you from the top down. They don't believe in you. They believe in their ability to care for you. That is not America.
And that is not what the working people of western Pennsylvania, the working people of South Carolina, the working people of across this country want. They don't want someone or some government that's going to care for them. They want someone who believes in them. [applause]
And we went out and -- all across this country in these three states now. But let me assure you we will go to Florida, and then we are going to Arizona and Colorado, [inaudible]. [applause] And we are going -- and we're going to deliver a little different message than the other folks in this race. And I respect them greatly. It is great to be up there and shoulder to shoulder with them, taking on every night and day as we travel across this country, taking on the policies of this president.
But I plan to be a little different. I'm going to go out and talk about how we are going to have a Republican Party, a conservative movement that makes sure that everyone in America has the opportunity to rise, not just those who have maybe advantage, maybe have had a little bit more opportunity than somebody else, but every person in America will have the opportunity to rise in America again. [applause]
And it's a pretty simple formula. It's a pretty simple formula. It is a formula that I talked about the other day at the debate. But it is a simple formula that we all understand. It is a formula that values work. It respects the dignity of all work in America, that says to anybody for any job that we respect that, but we also want to give you an opportunity to rise in society. And that's what's missing.
As much as we like to talk about as conservatives that if you just cut taxes and reduce spending everybody will do fine. Well, that is simply not the case. That's simply not the case. We have to create an atmosphere in this country where people can get the education they need.
We have to create an atmosphere in this country where people can get the training they need. We have to have an -- an attitude that says we want to compete for those blue-collar jobs that create the opportunities that in two generations one of their kids can run for President of the United States. [applause]
We also want to say -- we also want to say that we stand up, we stand up and want to promote the values that made this country great, the values of faith, family, and freedom, those values that we understand and we all know that that is what works and in America.
I've talked often in my speeches about the liberal think tank that says that if you do three things that you can almost guarantee to stay out of poverty. Work that I just talked about, get that education, graduate from high school, and, of course, get married before you have children. Marriage, family -- [applause]
If we are not the party that stands up for the truth about the importance of marriage, the importance of families, the importance of fatherhood and motherhood, the importance of those values of instilling virtues in the next generation of children with faith, then we are a party that no longer has a heart. And we are not a party that's going to be a majority party in this country. We have to be the party that speaks to everyone, those who know and understand that at the heart of America, that beating sound is that beating pulse of the healthy family. [applause]
I want to thank everybody here in the state of South Carolina. Thank you so much. Here at The Citadel, I want to thank The Citadel for the tremendous hospitality and the wonderful job the cadets have done for us. And I want to particularly thank them for that beautiful muzzle -- muzzle [inaudible] that I got, muzzle loader that I got yesterday. [applause]
And I want to say to all those folks across America who are looking for that candidate, that candidate that can be that good, stark contrast, someone who can contrast on all of the issues that are important for America today, the ones that are going to decide this election, the ones of experience on national security, the consistency on the conservative principles that made this country great. I ask you, it is a wide open race. Join the fight. Thank you.
Rick Santorum, Remarks in Charleston Following the South Carolina Primary Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/300261